Photographer's Note

Nymphaea rubra. Common name- The Red Water Lily.
The hairy water lily is known as Shapla in Bengali, Kokaa in Hindi and Kumuda in Sanskrit.
The flowers are quite large, about 15 cm in diameter when fully open. They tend to close during the daytime and open wide at night. Their color varies from white to pink, mauve or purple depending from the variety or hybrid.

The leaves of this plant have fuzzy or hairy undersides and the stems are covered by the same hairs as well, hence the name "pubescens" or "hairy" of the species. An aquatic plant having erect perennial rhizomes or rootstocks that anchor it to the mud in the bottom. The rhizomes produce slender stolons.
Its leave blades are round above the water and heart-shaped below 1526(50) cm, papery, abaxially densely pubescent. Some of the leaves that emerge rise slightly above the water held by their stem in lotus fashion, but most of them just float on the surface. The floating leaves have undy edges that make a crenellate effect.
The hairy water lily is also commercialized as an aquarium plant. The underwater leaves of this species have a handsome appearance that is appreciated by aquarists who often remove the floating leves to keep it as a fully subaquatic plant.
common in shallow lakes and ponds throughout temperate and tropical Asia: Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Yunnan, Taiwan, Philippines, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia.
It is also found in northeastern Australia and Papua New Guinea.
The hairy water lily is found both as a cultivated plant as well as in the wild. It prefers non-acidic waters and it doesn't tolerate temperatures below 15C.
It was late afternoon and at the end of the monsoon. I was on my way to Purulia. I had to stop for a while in a railway level crossing. Just at the roadside there was a pond full of these lovely flowers. I did not hesitate to capture some. This is one of them.

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